If you think having a website is your entire Web presence, one industry executive says you are missing the boat.
Justin Kitch, CEO of Homestead Technologies, gave one of the keynote addresses at the Small Business Summit I attended in New York this week. In it he emphasized that you need more than just a website:
Alluding to the film Field of Dreams, Kitch said, “If you build it, they won’t come.” He said small businesses have to go beyond building a first-class Web site to win online, he said. They have to be actively involved in lead generation technologies, blogs, user groups, etc. Customers will read what others are saying about small businesses, so those small businesses need to engage the online community and try to control their message. Small businesses should have a story to tell, he said. Customers want to know that story.
This is good advice. It is basic marketing translated for the online world.
After all, you wouldn’t just put together a single marketing brochure and think your job is done, right? You have to do something with that brochure. You have to advertise or create direct mail/email campaigns to reach out and find prospects to give that brochure to. You have to provide other materials such as white papers to prospects. You have to foster word of mouth from customers and others you’ve already touched. You have to … well, you get the point.
I felt the presentation did a good job demonstrating how much of marketing is moving online, even for businesses that are not e-commerce businesses. You may think of your business as primarily a local brick-and-mortar outfit, but you can’t escape the fact that some people’s contact with your business will be (1) initiated online or (2) continued from the offline world to the online. The public has come to expect a Web presence as part of the overall package.
Shamus McGillicuddy, a journalist on TechTarget, did a great job summarizing the presentation, including ten ways small businesses should be using the Web (the quote above is from his article).